BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Walking Dead – The Complete Third Season

TWD_S3Zombies ahoy! Season 3 of the critically acclaimed AMC drama The Walking Dead is available in the US on Blu-Ray and DVD tomorrow, August 27th.

Before you head out to the stores to pick it up, check out our review of the jam-packed blu-ray experience after the cut.

 

 

The Blu-Ray and DVD are a whopping 5 discs each, with all sixteen episodes from Season 3 and a host of extras and special features. For those of you that want a little bit more than just the discs, Anchor Bay Entertainment is also releasing a limited-edition version with a “zombie head tank” specially created by McFarlane Toys. Prices are as follows: $79.99 for the Blu-Ray, $69.99 for the DVD and $149.99 for the limited-edition version.

Before we get into our review, here’s the official Season 3 synopsis:

Based on the hugely popular graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON continues to draw in record audiences. Season 3 follows the weary group of survivors led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as they take refuge in a prison and attempt to set up a permanent camp. But while invading zombies are an ever-present danger, they must also battle the living, not only in the form of abandoned prisoners, but also the sadistic “Governor” (David Morrisey) and his followers. New characters introduced this season include Danai Gurira as “Michonne,” with her two “zombie pets” in tow, and Dallas Roberts (Shadow People) as the Governor’s lieutenant Milton, as well as the return of Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker).

THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON CAST also includes Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, IronE Singleton, Chandler Riggs, Scott Wilson and Melissa McBride.

 

If you’re a fan of the original Walking Dead comics, this was the season you’ve been waiting for. The prison. The Governor. Michonne. If you didn’t know the storyline, this was the season where you stopped being scared of the dead people because you were way too busy being creeped out by the living ones.

The Walking Dead Complete Third Season blu-ray set is what we’ve come to expect from AMC: well designed and high quality with a nifty set of interesting features that make us appreciate the show even more. In addition to all the Season 3 episodes, there’s commentary on five of the episodes, eight featurettes spotlighting particular characters or design challenges, and a half-dozen deleted scenes.

Here’s a little more detail on the special features. These comments will have spoilers for the events of Season 3, including character deaths, so if you’re checking out the blu-rays because you haven’t seen the episodes yet, stop reading now and just go start watching.

After a season of hour-long Talking Dead episodes, you might ask if there could really be anything left that we haven’t seen or heard yet about The Walking Dead. The answer is, of course, that there is never an end to how much we can talk about this amazing show.

Five episodes come with commentary tracks pairing a director or producer with one of the actors. Since pretty much everyone who works on this show is a big fan themselves, the commentary provides a continuous stream of inside information on character motivations, acting choices, details of the art design, and the usual joking around. In particular, Danai Gurira gives some fascinating insights into the enigmatic Michonne.

The following episodes have the option for commentary:

  • Episode 3.04 – “Killer Within” – Commentary by Guy Ferland (director) and IronE Singleton (T-Dog)
  • Episode 3.05 – “Say the Word” – Commentary by Greg Nicotero (director and SFX/make-up artist) and Danai Gurira (Michonne)
  • Episode 3.08 – “Made to Suffer” – Commentary by Robert Kirkman (writer/executive producer), David Alpert (executive producer), Gale Anne Hurd (executive producer), and Danai Gurira (Michonne)
  • Episode 3.09 – “The Suicide King” – Commentary by Gale Anne Hurd (executive producer) and Danai Gurira (Michonne)
  • Episode 3.15 – “This Sorrowful Life” – Commentary by Greg Nicotero (director and SFX/make-up artist) and Michael Rooker (Merle)

The rest of the special features can be found on the bonus disk. Eight short featurettes offer behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and production staff giving slices of insight into some of the most prominent characters, locations, and themes of the season:

  • “Rising Son” — A look at Rick’s son Carl and his character arc through Season 3, his significance to the show, and thoughts about his future.
  • “Evil Eye” — This one’s about–who else?– the Governor and his progression from ambiguously creepy antagonist to the super-disturbing psychopath who makes us all appreciate our own bosses a little bit more.
  • “Gone, But Not Forgotten” — A farewell to Lori and a look at how they made her death impressively bloody and horrifying (even for this show).
  • “Heart of a Warrior” — Michonne! A deeper look at our favorite katana-wielding badass.
  • “Michonne vs. The Governor” — A discussion of the hate-hate relationship between Michonne and the Governor and how it developed in the early part of the season.
  • “Safety Behind Bars” — Behind the scenes of the design and construction of the prison set.
  • “Making the Dead” — Zombies, zombies, and more zombies! Specifically, the quest to make the walkers grosser and freakier than ever.
  • “Guts and Glory” — Shorter farewells to the other major characters who bit it (or got bit) this season.

The six deleted scenes offer some pretty meaty conversations and interesting psychological moments between various characters. While you can see why they got cut to keep the action moving, if you can’t get enough time inside the characters’ heads, you’ll enjoy sinking a little deeper with these scenes. Look out in particular for a tense moment between Carol and Merle and some scariness from Rick’s psychotic break.

The third season of The Walking Dead was full of terror and drama, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The Complete Third Season blu-ray set offers not just every excellent episode, but plenty of additional content that should interest both diehard and casual fans.

But let’s be honest, the best news from this blu-ray set is the sticker on the cover: Season 4 debuts on October 13.

As an additional perk, we’ve got some Season 3 hi-res photos for you. Click on the thumbnails below to view the full-sized image:

 

Walking Dead Season 3 Still  Walking Dead Season 3 StillWalking Dead Season 3 Still  Walking Dead Season 3 StillWalking Dead Season 3 Still  Walking Dead Season 3 Still

 

Once you’ve caught up on all the action, be sure to tune in when Season 4 of The Walking Dead premieres this October on AMC.

 

Season 3 Rating: 5/5
Extras Rating: 4.5/5
Guest Reviewer: Marnee

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